Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

What Does the TCPA Mean to Contact Centers Today in a Mobile World?

May 01, 2014

Since the 1990s, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has protected Americans from unwanted telemarketing communications. Amended several times to account for changing technology (and to create the National Do-Not-Call Registry more than 10 years ago), the TCPA continues to struggle to keep up with today’s technologies and changing multichannel communications media. In addition, companies continue to struggle to comply with the increasingly complex governance of the law itself.

During a recent webinar sponsored by Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) entitled, “The Pitfalls of TCPA and Its Impact on Your Business: Up-Selling, Telemarketing & Collections,” Mike Bevel, Editor of InsideARM; Martha Buyer, TCPA Consultant; and Interactive Intelligence Product Manager Chad McCormick discussed what the TCPA means to contact centers and sales organizations today, and how they can abide by the TCPA while still maximizing performance.

One of the major problems companies today have with the TCPA is the proliferation of cell phones and homes that use cell phones exclusively. Since the TCPA creates two tiers of regulations – one for landlines and one for mobile phones – it’s critical that companies understand these rules, given the stakes for non-compliance, which can run between $500 and $1,500 per communication (call or even a single text).

That said, there are many benefits for contact centers when consumers increasingly use their mobile phones. Connection rates for mobile phones are two to three times better than cell phones, since people generally keep their phones close by (unlike their landlines), and marketers have a much better chance of making a right party contact, since mobile phones generally aren’t shared (also unlike landlines). It’s also about human nature.

“Curiosity definitely makes people answer the phone when it’s right by their side,” said Chad McCormick. “I’ve found that in my experience in measuring contact rates, that even if folks did not pick up the cell phone, we found an alarming number of people who would call us right back, due to that curiosity factor.”

The trick, of course, is you need to remain within the boundaries of the TCPA and not annoy your customers. While some organizations have looser rules to follow – non-profits, political calls, surveys and alerts to existing customers – those looking to use outbound telemarketing with consumers must be very careful. This is particularly an issue since amendments to the law wiped out the “existing business relationship” exemption from the TCPA. In other words, since October of last year, it’s no longer enough that a customer has done business with your organization before.

Companies must now have express written consent from a customer to send an automated outbound call (“robocalls”) to a landline, and must also have explicit written consent to send robocalls or use a dialer to place a call to a wireless phone. Furthermore, a customer providing a cell phone on a form is NOT considered express consent, and companies must maintain a record of this written consent for at least a year.

To remain compliant, companies must ensure (for starters) that they can tell the difference between landlines and mobile phones. List scrubbing services come in handy here, and they can also prevent companies (or third party telemarketers) from calling numbers on do-not-call lists. Attaining prior written consent is an even trickier prospect: there are issues afoot regarding how consent must be obtained (for example, are electronic signatures acceptable?) that may not be settled until pending legal judgments are handed down.

Whatever your methods to ensure compliance, it’s critical that you do so. Class-action lawsuits against outbound marketers are on the rise (some lawyers seem to make careers out of TCPA violations alone) and government agencies such as the FCC (News - Alert) and the FTC seem quite happy to hand out huge fines to violators.




Edited by Peter Bernstein

Article comments powered by Disqus

Related Contact Center Solutions Articles

Measuring What Matters in the Contact Center

Measuring the right things in the best way is the path to improving agent performance and customer satisfaction. [ Read More ]
09/02/2014

Contact Center Solutions Week in Review

The word "spanning" comes to mind in looking at the news and insights this past week in the Contact Center Solutions Community. Not only were there items that speak to the global impact of contact center solutions, but we spanned a broad range of important topics including omnichannel and metrics. [ Read More ]
08/30/2014

Rise in Cloud Contact Center Traffic Volume in 2014

Voxbone says it saw a 14 percent increase in call volume (in minutes) over the last six months which it points out has been validated recently by IDC Research who is predicting that spending for on-demand cloud contact centers in the U.S. alone will increase from $733.3 million in 2013 to $1.6 billion in 2018. [ Read More ]
08/29/2014

Scripts and Metrics Only Take Call Centers So Far

Performance metrics are not the end-all be-all of call center performance. Companies desperately struggle to make their call centers operate more efficiently, at lower costs, with more calls completed per hour, and with fewer return complaints. However, when reaching for those goals, some businesses fail to make their centers better overall, as if the sum of those individual parts was something more. [ Read More ]
08/28/2014
Subscribe here for your FREE Contact
Center Solutions
enewslettter.

Events

Weekly Live Demo
Contact Center Solutions

Register Today!


Weekly Live Demo
CaaS Small Center

Register Today!